Bundt pan size: Which Bundt pan is best for a 9" x 13" cake recipe?

Our magazine, Sift, is filled with stunning photography and delicious recipes. But it’s also a great educational resource for bakers. From time to time we pick out a reader’s question from Sift to feature here in our blog — like this one from our upcoming Fall issue:

Q: I’m looking at a recipe that calls for a 9˝ x 13˝ pan, or two 9˝ layers, but I really want to bake it in a Bundt pan. What would be the right size Bundt pan, a 10-cup or 12-cup? And how long do I bake it for? – Joanne Rosenbluth

A. Joanne, bake your recipe calling for a 9″ x 13″ pan (or two 9″ round pans) in either a 10-cup or 12-cup Bundt pan. Increase the baking time by about 30% in the 10-cup pan, somewhat less in the 12-cup.

Now, how did we arrive at this answer? Inquiring bakers want to know!

First, let’s talk about Bundt pan size: what’s really meant by a 10-cup or 12-cup Bundt pan?

What those measurements DON’T mean is that you can bake 10 or 12 cups of cake batter in a 10- or 12-cup Bundt pan. Capacity — the amount of liquid the pan will hold, right up to its rim — is different than bakeable capacity, which is the amount of cake batter the pan can hold and bake, without the batter overflowing the pan as it rises.

So while your Bundt pan size/capacity may be 10 cups, it’s bakeable capacity is more like 6 cups.

Note: Don’t know the capacity of your Bundt pan? Fill the pan with water right to its rim, then measure the water; that’s its capacity. Now fill the pan with water to 1 1/4″ to 1 1/2″ below the rim. Measure the water; that’s its bakeable capacity.

Bundt pan size via @kingarthurflour

A typical cake recipe — one that makes a 9″ x 13″ cake, or a couple of 9″ rounds, or 2 dozen cupcakes — yields just about 6 cups of batter, making it perfect for a 10-cup Bundt pan. (Pictured here is the batter for Chef Zeb’s Hot Milk Cake.)

Bundt pan size via @kingarthurflour

When baking a cake, be sure not to fill your pan any fuller than its bakeable capacity, as measured by how deep it fills the pan. Your batter should be at least 1 1/4″ below the rim of the pan.

Yes, I did overfill the pan a bit here. Let’s see what happens—

Bundt pan size via @kingarthurflour

Whew! I’d say the 6 1/4 cups of batter I used was at the top limits of this 10-cup pan’s bakeable capacity.

Now, how about baking time? When switching from a 9″ x 13″ pan or 9″ round cake pans to a Bundt pan, you’ll need to increase the cake’s baking time — by about 30%, in my experience. Best bet? Start checking the cake for doneness once it’s reached the maximum baking time called for in your recipe.

And if you choose a pan whose capacity is larger than necessary for your recipe (e.g., Joanne’s 12-cup Bundt pan, whose bakeable capacity would be about 7 1/4 cups), you can still get good results. The batter won’t fill a larger pan all the way, but will nevertheless yield an attractive cake. You won’t need to increase the baking time quite as much as you did when using a smaller Bundt pan.

Feeling inspired to bake a cake? Check out our hundreds of baker-tested cake recipes, and our cake and cupcakes baking guide.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. John

    I am using a recipe that I have tried twice.The recipe calls for a 7″ bundt pan. Each time my cake is very short small compared to the recipe’s picture. It tastes great, but it is puny really. How do I measure a bundt pan in inches not cups? Could the recipe be asking for a 7 cup pan, not a 7″ and got the wording wrong? My pan is pretty big.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hmm, it may be asking for a 7 cup Bundt pan, John, which is actually pretty small. To give you an idea, or Small Classic Bundt Pan is 7″ in diameter (at the base, which is where you would want to measure for inches) and holds 6 cups. A 6-7 cup Bundt pan would hold a recipe that makes one 9″ round cake, or half of a recipe that makes two 9″ rounds or one 9″ x 13″ pan. A recipe to fill a pan this size (to fill one 6-7 cup Bundt pan) would use 1 1/2 to 2 cups of flour if that helps. Annabelle@KAF

  2. Joann Erickson

    I have a Wilton 6 inch fluted bunt pan and learned from your blog how much batter to fill it. Thank you.

    Reply
  3. Tressa pratt

    I am so glad I ran across this. I am making an apple sauce cake for a party and thought it would be prettier in a rose bundt pan instead of 11 × 13. I came closed to messing it up. This just proves you can still learn new things at 66 years old. Thank you for your share.

    Reply
  4. Mary Gilmore

    I have the cupcake size bundt pans and after reading all of this I am not sure how long you would keep them in the oven. From reading all the comments, I would make sure that they are at least 1 inch from the top?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Mary, if it’s a Bundtlette pan you have like this Garland Bundtlette, then each well can hold 2/3 cup batter, for a total capacity of 6 cups, just like a standard Bundt pan. Exact bake time may vary based on your oven and the recipe, but we typically find that they take around 20-25 minutes to bake. Hope this helps! Mollie@KAF

  5. Oaklandpat

    If I use a 12 cup bundt pan for a recipe which calls for a 10 cup bundt pan, how would I adjust the baking time?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      12-cup Bundt pans require less baking time than 10-cup pans, so you’ll want to check for doneness about 10 minutes early. You may need to bake it the full time, but it’s worth taking a peek early to see how it’s doing to prevent overbaking. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

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